WELCOME TO THE i10
FIRST INSTALLMENT OF INSIDE THE 10:
Hey, everybody! I was just checking out a few ‘inside the 10’ stats and thought I’d drop a few words on your eyes. Red zone stats have always kind of bugged me just because scoring from the 1 is a lot different than from the 20, and this is certainly not breaking news. Lots of people have talked about this and dealt with it statistically. I think Mike Clay, for example, cooked up some metric weighting distance from the goal. Also, the 20 is kind of an arbitrary marker, so why not use the 18 or 25? We can make the case that the 9 or 10 is just as arbitrary, but most of the scoring is from inside there, and it tends to drop off quite a bit once you get out past the 10. The inside the 10 statistics might mirror traditional red zone stats, as offenses like NOS or NEP will show better at any spot on the field than, say, the Rams, but I think the 11-20 probably doesn’t contribute much.
So, for starters, I don’t even know why they use the 20 to begin with. Let’s check what my google machine had to say:
Former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs is widely credited with coining the term “red zone” for the area between the 20-yard line and the end zone. He first mentioned it publicly in a Washington Post story in 1982. He reportedly used the phrase, an earlier military metaphor, to motivate his 1981 team, which was 0-4 and had the NFL’s worst scoring offense when inside the opponent’s 20. However, some people point to Dave Plati, longtime sports information director at the University of Colorado, as the brains behind the red-zone concept — or at least the first person to chart a team’s performance in those parts of the field. Plati joined the Denver Broncos’ statistics staff in 1980 and came up with all kinds of miscellaneous statistics. One of them was charting the Broncos’ offensive and defensive efficiency in those 20-yard areas.
In a 2013 interview with the Coloradan magazine, Plati said he has no problem with Gibbs being credited with the term. He said that, given his druthers, he would have come up with a different name, one honoring his university. “I would’ve called it the gold zone,” he said.
Not to knock those guys, but if this is all true it just highlights the arbitrariness of the 20-yard marker.
Let’s cherry pick a few guys out and take a closer look at how scoring changes as you get further out. We’ll add up Bell, David Johnson, Mccoy, Murray, Freeman, and Blount — and for the purposes of this write up ‘inside the 10’ (i10) will exclude the 10, meaning it’s the opponent’s 1-9. I’ll try to be clear where I include the 10 yd line and use the opponent’s 1-10. This is all taken from the most excellent Profootballreference, and the way they have things organized the player pages default to 1-9, while some of the team stuff is simply 1-10 unless you specifically switch it, which is why there may be a couple discrepancies between this and a few tweets I made, if you happened to see those.
Those 6 guys totaled up 75 rush td + 11 receiving = 86 TD
From the opponent’s 1-10 they totaled 61 rush td + 8 receiving = 69 TD —- that’s right.
From 11 to 20 yds out they only totaled up 8 TD’s, which is just a measly 9% of their total scores compared with 80% of total scores coming from the 1-10, leaving the remaining 11% of scores from beyond the 20. Therefore, I don’t think red zone stats are particularly useful compared to just using the i10 data, although maybe more convenient depending on how you get your stats.
Next installment we’ll dig into some of these stats on specific guys that might be noteworthy. Trust me and stay tuned because this gets very, very interesting.
Written by @eomrules – The Inventor of the i10